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Dr Lara Meischke

Lara - Sept 2015

Deputy Director

With enthusiasm for improving the student experience, Lara joined Student Services in 2007 as Academic Support Adviser and Discipline Officer.  Since then, her role has expanded to include reviewing and managing systems and processes within Student Services, heading up the academic, disability and money advice sections, and training for the unit and wider University.

Lara has a background in research and teaching in Biological Sciences.  She studied Zoology at Bangor University, completed a PhD on water balance in sharks and postdoctoral position on fish muscle physiology at the University of St Andrews.  During her studies, she contributed extensively to undergraduate teaching and education outreach within the Schools of Biology and Medicine, including providing specific teaching support to students with special needs.  She has published and presented her work, receiving several awards for science communication. 

She also worked as an Assistant Warden in Agnes Blackadder Hall, a student residence at St Andrews, which gave her the perspective of the student experience outside of the lecture theatre.  She later took up the position of Warden at McIntosh Hall in 2008, and moved to John Burnet Hall as Warden in 2016. Lara managed the entire Wardennial Service from 2013-2016 (

Lara handles queries from students and schools about a wide range of academic issues.  These include students reporting circumstances affecting their work, giving schools information about students in order for them to make academic decisions, and monitoring and responding to self-certificates of absence.  She regularly refers students to colleagues within Student Services and elsewhere within the University, encouraging and empowering students to tackle the issues affecting them.  She also provides direct support to the Disability and Money teams, assisting with complex issues.

In other areas of Student Services, Lara evaluates current procedures and regulations within the unit and the wider University and suggests modifications, works on review projects, and identifies areas of inconsistent practice.  Lara is also involved in designing and delivering training to Student Services staff and across the University, including a Mental Health Toolkit for all University staff.  Lara keeps an overview of non-academic misconduct, taking an educational rather than punitive approach.  Maintaining appropriate conduct within the student population is crucial in St Andrews, where the community and the University retain good relations.

Lara has also worked at the University of Stirling as Head of Student Support Services, where she gained experience of managing counselling, disabilities and money teams, and helped to shape a more integrated service for the students.

Lara particularly enjoys speaking to students about their experiences to find out what they love about the University, and which areas they’d most like to see improved.



Advice and Support Centre
79 North Street
St Andrews
KY16 9AL
Scotland, United Kingdom

Tel: 01334 462020
Fax:01334 461716

Open Monday to Friday
9:30am to 4:30pm

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